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Collection Highlights

In 1822 two members of the University of Cambridge gave the university a set of coffins belonging to a man named Nespawershefyt. The following year Giovanni Belzoni presented the university with the sarcophagus lid of Ramesses III which he had retrieved from the Valley of the Kings. The collection grew in importance towards the end of the 19th century and in the early years of the 20th century, benefitting from the work of Sir Flinders Petrie, the Egypt Exploration Fund and the British School of Archaeology in Egypt. Among other notable benefactors, R G Gayer-Anderson (1943) and Sir Robert Greg (1954) deserve to be singled out, whose bequests to the Museum provided the Egyptian collection with some of its most significant artefacts.


Find out more on the Egyptian collection



  • Ancient Egyptian Coffins

    Research into the Fitzwilliam Museum’s collection of Egyptian coffins began in 2004, as part ofthe project to examine and conserve objects during the refurbishment of the Egyptian coffins, completed in 2006. In the past, projects of this kind have focussed on either the iconography and textual content of the decoration, or the technology of the structure and decoration. In contrast, the Fitzilliam’s project is a fusion of approaches: working with experts in ancient painting and carpentry techniques, the museum’s conservation and curatorial staff study each coffin (or coffin fragment) individually, using analytical techniques, constructional analysis and wood identification, and textual and iconographic studies, as well as archival research. This synthetic approach results in a more complete history of each object, from its construction in Egypt to its arrival in Cambridge, which will be published in an online catalogue. 

  • African Combs

    This project is multi-disciplinary and will combine new archaeological, anthropological and sociological research with community engagement.

Online Exhibitions